Monday, August 25, 2008

Yes, I'm Still Here - Don't Freak

Yes, I'm still here after those last two blogs. And yes, this is my blog. Don't freak and start clicking on your mouse like you've lost control of your index finger. There aren't any naked pictures of women that are going to start flashing in front of your 3 year old. I wouldn't do that to you. Although it'd be funny. Happened to me once. I was looking for the American Girl Doll Magazine website. I typed in pre-teen girls magazine...

I'm trying out a new look. What do you think? I think the photos are easier to see on a white background and green is my favorite color. It looks like my title might be surrounded by a lime tree but you can't always have everything your way. Could be apples I guess but either way I'd rather not associate myself with fruit.

So after last week I'm trying to just slow down today before my kids get off the bus. Here are two thoughts I'm reflecting on today as I'm avoiding piles of dirty laundry, ignoring my dirty house and contemplating the amount of homework arriving shortly:

  • Women in polygamist marriages have something figured out. Sure they have 12 kids between them but they share the workload and they don't have to sleep with their husband every night. I'm thinking there's gotta be a full day off in there somewhere.
  • Nudists don't have laundry.
Have a good Monday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Single Mom Wonder Woman!!

I was just starting to think everything was going to be ok. Then Tim left town. Why is it that when you start to see the silver lining a big bolt of lightning smacks you in the head and fries your hair? Or, when you think things could only get worse and suddenly a rainbow appears and your hopes for future sanity return to only be taken away again? Why?! Why?! Why?! I think it's called life. Or maybe it's just called parenthood. I'm eleven years into this and I still haven't adjusted to it. So, I guess, this is why people do drugs.

I was finally starting to see the payoff yesterday afternoon of having kids in school all day. I had a good day with my friend Beth. She made us lunch and we spent the afternoon at the art museum. It was great. It was relaxing, it was fun, it was even inspiring. This was the first day since school started that I didn't spend filling out forms and catching up on dishes and laundry. Then the kids got off the bus at 4:00. At first there was a sense of "I can handle this". No 32 senseless questions that I'll repeat the answers to 3 times each is going to send ME over the edge. I'm on top of things now. I deflected all complaints and inquiries like Wonder Woman with her gold cuffs. ZAP! ZOWIE!! ZABING! An hour later (ZAP! ZABING!) I said, "Just get in the car we're going to swim clinic". I don't even think I had to scream it. So, we went to the swim clinic and Maya and Eva swam for an hour why I tried to entertain Isaac and chat with other moms. Bad idea. Well, Isaac had a melt down after about 20 minutes because things weren't going his way. I was adjusting my gold cuffs thinking "I'm handling this like a TV mom" and "Good girl!" I knew he was tired and disappointed. I tried to work with him. I knew it would all be ok because of my new found patience and inner wisdom (and my imaginary gold cuffs) but he was barely hanging on to sanity. After 10 minutes of me trying to appease him without getting upset or slinging him over my shoulder and carrying him out to the car I finally said to him "YOU'RE CRAZY!". After I said that I thought "did I just call my five year old crazy?" Wow, I did. Freakin' piece of crap cheap gold cuffs.

Things went downhill from there. We got home and I was trying to do homework with Maya and keep Isaac and Eva happy by letting them play outside when they should have been getting ready for bed. Neighbor kids were playing in our backyard spraying my mosquito repellent on the bugs and not on their bodies. (Don't they have bug spray at their house they can waste?) Someones cat wanted in MY fence while Olive was going berserk and the cat was hissing at Olive. I told the kids to go home and dragged my dog inside. As I'm trying to figure out the difference between Third Person Limited and Third Person Omniscient (don't tell me I have it figured out now) kids started screaming to Maya (who's supposed to be working on her homework) from outside somewhere in the front yard because the cat is now in our backyard. I opened up the front door and said "I DON"T CARE! GO HOME!" (You'd think fewer kids would come around wouldn't you?) Olive's having a doggie conniption. Isaac is afraid the cat will crawl through some hole in the floor and bite him. Eva and Maya want to keep the cat but they don't dare say this because that eye twitch in my left eye is back. But I persevere. I get Isaac in the shower, set up a quick movie, feed them all a healthy snack of Oreo cookies (hold the milk), get them all in bed, read Rolie Polie Olie twice, tell Maya (who can't handle less than an "A") "No, I can't study with you anymore, you're good." Then I lay on my bed trying to not to have a stroke.

And then Tim comes home.

By this time random words are flashing through my brain like "smoke" and "adjustment in medication" and "beer, lots and lots of beer." I can't seem to put a cohesive sentence together that doesn't start with "I hate you" or "Why didn't you keep your freakin' sperm to yourself?" So I choose not to say anything at all. I can start to feel the synapses misfiring and all I can think is "schmickelt" and "phhlatbatt". I'm pretty sure Tim's talking to me but all I hear is "rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr".

I'm sorry I didn't speak to you last night honey, this is why you have to read the blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


It was just two days ago my mom was commenting on how my kids know how to pop the perfect smile for the camera. Not a big shocker with my photography background. It's one of two things I've mastered as a mom. (The other would be hiding in the bathroom at bedtime.) Point a camera in their face and say "hey" - and tada! It's a perfect picture smile. And now, look at my dog! (top left) It took a couple tries but she gave me a definite "look" for the camera. Look at that cute pootchie, pootchie, poo!!! (Eva's cute too but she's been around a lot longer.)

This picture was taken last night as the final photo in Eva's ME project which was due today. Nothing like waiting till the last minute. Which is exactly what Tim did last night when he tried to buy several gift cards on his way out of town for a conference tomorrow. (Just stay with me here.) It wouldn't have been such a big deal if I'd KNOWN he was going to spend over $300 in gift cards at a Kroger in Greenfield. Had I KNOWN this I wouldn't have told the credit card company to decline the charge when they called me at 8:00pm in the middle of homework, snacks, bedtime and general squirrelling about. (I pictured a druggie buying $300 of Fritos and Funyuns mind you.) It's ok when I wait till the last minute Tim, but it's not ok when you do it. Especially when it causes me gastrointestinal problems.

Now, that I've gotten myself in trouble... I'd just like to say getting three kids on the bus at the same time every morning is a test from God. And it's one that I'm going to fail as well. If the objective is to just get them on the bus, bruised and battered with their self-esteem at an all time low, then I'll pass.

So, here's how it goes. First I let Olive out. Then I spend the next half hour poking kids till they get up, then eventually I drag Eva out of bed, fix three different breakfasts, cut the "skin" off toast, let Isaac put his own cinnamon/sugar on his toast (this requires me to do a Marty Feldman - one eye on the toast the other on what I'm doing). Let Olive in. Go over two different menus for lunch and then inevitably make three different lunches. Remove Little People from Olive's teeth and let her out. Stand over the girls so they actually put their clothes on and not just lie lifeless on their beds. Let Olive and a big stick in. Brush hair, do hair and re-brush Isaac's teeth. Clean up the dog pee on the floor. (!?!?!?!) Dose out meds, some before breakfast, some during breakfast, some on the way out the door. Remove a Webkins from Olive's mouth. Write bad checks for lunch money. Remove a Little People from Olive's mouth, again. And I do this all while holding down my left eyelid which began twitching last night when I THOUGHT I just had my credit card number stolen. As the kids head out the door I grab three knives from the knife drawer and juggle them in the air just to top off the morning. And then I pull out the band-aids and we all head out the door to catch the bus.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Angst, Stirrups, Piercings and Copayments

I think this title would be a good chapter title in my book. I'll get right on that.

The kids are home from school. Hence, the angst. Eva wasn't home 5 minutes before we had tears over homework. Help me out here. I don't know what to do?! I understand that she needs a break and wants to go out and play but I KNOW that we'll be up till 10 o'clock with tears trying to get it done. I called her teacher and left a message. My plan is to cry on the phone to her (and her other two teachers) to not give my daughter anymore homework for the rest of the year. Whew! I feel so much better now that I have a plan.

Maya seems to be doing fine with the new school. Maya is a fairly easy going kid and doesn't have much trouble with anything in particular. When she's sixteen she'll run off with the lead singer from some garage punk band and acquire many piercings and we'll all be really surprised. But right now she's not much trouble and (the Johnson requirement of an "easy" child) requires few co-payments.

Isaac has always required many co-payments. God love him. He's his own man though despite his various physical perplexities. He seems to be in his zone as far as school goes. He did say on the second day that some boy called him a baby. I responded by saying "It's ok honey, tell me his name and I'll kick his ass." (Ok, not really but my tongue was bloody from biting it.) I let his teacher know what was going on and she called to let me know there was another boy trying to pick on him at recess. This is when I realized sending a boy to school is much different than sending a girl to school. His school years are going to be challenging in a different way. In a "he's only 3ft and 32 lbs. and 5 inches shorter than everyone" kinda way. It might be time for some Tae-Kwon-Do and some growth hormones.

Speaking of hormones I went to the gynecologist today. (Like me segue?) I told my sister Colleen on the phone about my upcoming appointment and she responded by saying "oh, I'm sorry." And you know, that's really all you want to hear when you go to the girl doctor. You just want a little empathy from someone who knows about stirrups and a cold metal speculum. (This blog is not for the squeamish.) She meant it and I knew she meant it. That's probably why I threatened to cut Tim's yahoos off last night when I told him about my appointment. There just was no sympathy. I guess he really can't help it being a man and all. It try not to hold that against him. That's why there should be a male equivalent to a gynecological exam. To promote more harmony in our marriages. Someone needs to invent that. Include the stirrups, angst and shoot throw in a piercing or two!! But hold off on the co-payment please.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Only 179 Days To Go

I guess it would be about the second day of school when I realize we have to do this thing for 179 more days. Don't get me wrong, it's exciting sending your kids off to school to be home ALONE for hours for the first time ever in your life. Or at least the first time in approximately 11 years. (Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture.) Hey wait, that's not really an exaggeration. To be home alone for six straight hours could only possible happen if my entire family left town without me and that has never happened. Anyway, what for the love of God was I talking about? Oh yeah...This morning I remembered it's NOT exciting getting them up in the morning and on the bus. It's even less exciting now that I'm doing it in triplet.

Everyone got up at 7am. More or less. Maya more, Eva and Isaac less. It was 7:10am when I went to extract Isaac from his bed that I realized we have another Eva on our hands. He was understandably exhausted after his first half-day of school. I stared at him for a minute sleeping so soundly and was wondering if I was going to have to resuscitate him he was so asleep. Tonight I'm thinking I'll have him in bed by 7:30pm. The promise of sausage and syrup got his eyes open with just a little bit of (very familiar) whining. Ok, maybe 7:00pm. It took him 45 minutes to eat his breakfast. By Thursday we'll be getting up at 6:30am and going to sleep at 5:30pm.

The girls were their usually squirrelly selves. If they just did it - got up and got dressed and ate their breakfasts, they could get up and out of the house in 30 minutes. But being part rodent instills the need to flop on their beds in only their skivvies and flop on each other for 30 minutes every morning. Fortunately Isaac was in the family room getting dressed so he wasn't involved in this morning's flopping. Flopping about is contagious you know, I'll have to watch out for that.

And soon there will be homework. Forget soon, we'll probably have homework tonight. Doing homework with Eva always brings me to my knees. It's a reminder to me of why people drink and smoke. I'd be happy with just one vice every night we have to do homework together. A little heavy drinking one night and heavy smoking the other. You know, the thought occurred to me this morning that at the end of this year I'm just going to ask the principal "Who gives the least homework? We'd like that teacher next year please." Eva never gets that teacher. I want that teacher damn it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

As Good As It Gets

Well, it appears as though the earth is still spinning on it's axis. As far as I can tell anyway. For a minute there it felt like we were careening off into a black hole. It was precisely 8:45a.m. when I felt it. The same time Isaac walked into his kindergarten class.

You know, I was doing just fine. I was good. Tim and I got him on the bus without so much as a tear from any of us. Plenty of smiles, a little anxiety. Then I left Tim to get the girls on the bus and I went to Isaac's school to help with bus duty. Everything was a little chaotic and while I was lining up kindergartners with their teachers Isaac came up behind me and grabbed my legs. There were tears glistening in his eyes and his frown was trying not to tremble. But I was OK. I was still good. He obviously was not but I had to keep us altogether and save face. I got him to his teacher along with another little girl who was showing the same signs of first dayness. I took his picture and like the good boy of a photographer he is he forgot about everything else and smiled for the camera.

Good. He was good. I was still good. We were all good.

Then everyone started to walk into the school and I looked around ready to help with all those confused little people and realized none of the other parents were going in. The sidewalks were clearing and my heart started firing off signals to my brain...not good, not good, this is NOT GOOD. I looked around at the other parents and they were all just chatting with each other on the sidewalk and smiling. I had my smile in place but the earth was spinning a little faster (I could feel the wind pick up). Words started popping in my head like "are we just going to let them go?!" and "don't they need our help?!" and "WAIT! HE'S LEAVING!!!" But I squelched them all because I knew deep down in my heart.... I was insane.

"Good" was being sucked away by that vortex of a black hole and the earth was picking up speed. I thought I was PREPARED, I had spilled my tears a week before over EVERYTHING. Isaac was beginning school and the girls were going to 5th grade and moving on to the intermediate school. I had cried for the days that were gone and the days ahead that would make our family forever "different". I had done my emotional homework. I was all caught up. How was this sneaking up on me?! I had gotten a puppy for chrissakes!!!

It was because of my almost 41 years of life experience that I didn't burst into tears and start running in circles screaming "MY BABY IS GONE, MY BABY IS GONE!" Instead I held my smile in place and slowly walked to my car, putting one foot in front of the other until almost all thoughts of hysteria had passed.

I did it. Isaac did too. He was going to be OK. And I was still good. Well....mostly.